able

adjective
\ ˈā-bəl How to pronounce able (audio) \

Definition of able

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : having sufficient power, skill, or resources to do something able to solve a problem
b : having the freedom or opportunity to do something hopes to be able to visit soon
c : having a quality or nature that makes something possible a car able to hold five people : susceptible to some action or treatment a shoe able to be repaired
2 abler\ -​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce abler (audio)\; ablest\ -​b(ə-​)ləst How to pronounce ablest (audio)\ : marked by intelligence, knowledge, skill, or competence an able administrator
variants: or less commonly -ible

Definition of -able (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : capable of, fit for, or worthy of (being so acted upon or toward) chiefly in adjectives derived from verbs breakablecollectible
2 : tending, given, or liable to agreeable perishable

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Other Words from able

Adjective

ably \ ˈā-​b(ə-​)lē How to pronounce ably (audio) \ adverb
a task performed ably

Adjective suffix

-ably or less commonly -ibly adverb suffix

Synonyms & Antonyms for able

Synonyms: Adjective

capable, competent, equal, fit, good, qualified, suitable

Antonyms: Adjective

incompetent, inept, poor, unfit, unfitted, unqualified

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Choose the Right Synonym for able

Adjective

able and capable mean having the power to do or accomplish. able may be used for someone who has exceptional skill and has done well in the past. She is an able surgeon with years of experience. capable is usually used to describe someone who has the characteristics suitable for a particular kind of work. The recruits soon proved to be capable soldiers.

Examples of able in a Sentence

Adjective

He will buy a new car as soon as he is able. He turned out to be an able editor. She is one of the ablest lawyers in the firm.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There have been tough challenges before: Google had to turn to the internet for suggestions for the naming of Android N, and O would have probably been a calamity had Google not been able to partner with Nabisco to get the Oreo name. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "What will Google call Android 10 Q?," 6 May 2019 While President Trump has not been able to get Congress to act on his signature campaign issue of building a border wall, there's another important immigration story developing. Paul Overberg, WSJ, "Immigrants Propel Population Growth in 10% of U.S. Counties," 18 Apr. 2019 Javier Zarracina These larger turbines are better able to capture wind in less gusty areas, increasing the capacity factor. Umair Irfan, Vox, "4 maps that show who’s being left behind in America’s wind-power boom," 28 Mar. 2019 Shoppers will be able to buy items in the store and have their orders delivered to their homes. ... Kimberly Chin, WSJ, "Wayfair Is Latest Online Seller to Go Bricks and Mortar," 26 Mar. 2019 As of today, Instagram users in the U.S. will be able to buy items from over 20 different brands directly from the photo-sharing app, Buzzfeed News reports. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Instagram Just Added a New In-App Shopping Feature," 19 Mar. 2019 While fans haven't been able to see much of their recently filming reunion, the co-stars had a cute moment together at the 2019 Kids' Choice Awards. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Noah Centineo and Lana Condor Shared the Cutest Moment at the 2019 Kids’ Choice Awards," 24 Mar. 2019 Game of Thrones fans will be able to see Clarke and Headey on screen again when the series returns for its final season on April 14. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lena Headey Supports Game of Thrones Co-Star Emilia Clarke After She Opened Up About Her Brain Aneurysms," 22 Mar. 2019 While she was devastated, Kathie was able to get pregnant again, and had a daughter, Cassidy Erin Gifford, in August of the following year. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Today' Star Kathie Lee Gifford and Her Late Husband Frank Went Through It All Together," 22 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'able.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of able

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for able

Adjective

Middle English able, abill, borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin habilis "easily handled or adjusted, adaptable," from habēre "to have, hold" + -ilis, alteration (by haplology before labial consonants) of -ibilis -ible — more at give entry 1

Adjective suffix

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French and Middle French, going back to Latin -ābilis, -ibilis, from -ā-, -i- (thematic vowels of various conjugations of verbs) + -bilis "capable (of acting) or worthy of (being acted upon)," going back to pre-Latin *-dhl-is, adjective suffix formed from the instrumental noun suffix *-dhl-om (whence Latin -bulum)

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Statistics for able

Last Updated

10 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for able

The first known use of able was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for able

English Language Learners Definition of -able

: fit for or worthy of being
: likely to or capable of
: having a certain quality

able

adjective
\ ˈā-bəl How to pronounce able (audio) \
abler\ -​blər \; ablest\ -​bləst \

Kids Definition of able

1 : having enough power, resources, or skill to do something Are you able to swim?
2 : having the freedom or opportunity to do something I'll come when I'm able.
3 : having or showing much skill an able dancer
variants: also -ible \ ə-​bəl \

Kids Definition of -able

1 : capable of, fit for, or worthy of being lovable flexible
2 : tending or likely to changeable

Other Words from able

-ably also -ibly \ ə-​blē \ adverb suffix adorably

able

adjective

Legal Definition of able

1 : possessed of needed powers or of needed resources to accomplish an objective able to perform under the contract
2 : having freedom from restriction or obligation or from conditions preventing an action able to vote
3 : legally qualified : possessed of legal competence able to inherit property

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More from Merriam-Webster on able

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with able

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for able

Spanish Central: Translation of able

Nglish: Translation of able for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of able for Arabic Speakers

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